Heirs not distributing the estate of the deceased

Q: A person passed away. He was survived by a wife, 7 sons and a daughter. At the time of his demise, the Marhoom’s estate had cash, Kruger coins, a number of properties and a business in which some of his sons were assisting him.

After the demise, the estate was not distributed. With mutual agreement, all heirs continued with their respective responsibilities that they carried out during the lifetime of the deceased. i.e. running of the business and looking after the property portfolio.

No fixed wages were stipulated for anyone (as was the case during the life of the Marhmoom).

Everyone continued to draw money from the business and properties for their expenses, at their own discretion. It is expected that everyone will be moderate in their spending and that they will consult with any major decision.

Subsequent to the demise, a few properties have been purchased and two sons have started businesses.

Zakaat is currently being paid on the entire estate and not individually. As a precautionary measure it is paid well above the actual due amount.

This arrangement is working out fairly okay, however, at times some heirs have voiced their feeling that they want this partnership to be dissolved and the estate to be divided.


1. Is the above partnership arrangement acceptable?

2. Is it fine to continue paying Zakaat as a collective?

3 What advice can you offer on how matters should be taken forward?

A: This is grossly incorrect. With the demise of the father, each partner must be given his due share and he should spend only from his portfolio. When this procedure is not followed there will definitely be some discrepancy that someone has taken more than the other. This leads to bitter feelings, suspicions and progresses to hatred. We will advise that the shares of each heir should be defined. If all agree to continue in a partnership then they can do after defining their shares and how much each one is worth. In the event one wishes to exit the partnership his share should be fairly evaluated and his money should be given to him.

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)